[extropy-chat] what is probability?

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 18 04:13:14 UTC 2007

--- Jef Allbright <jef at jefallbright.net> wrote:

> Thanks Stuart for helping to make my point that
> there's no end to the
> variety of dimensions that could be applied to this
> ambiguously
> specified problem.

You are welcome, Jef. One of the funnier quirks of
this list is that there seems to be no limit to how
finely its participants can split hairs. It would make
Zeno proud. ;) 
> People get stuck on it because they think of
> probability as distribution
> of "true" values rather probability as distribution
> of uncertainty.

Yes, I agree. It's like asking, "What is the batting
average of a baseball player that has never been at
bat before?" A frequentist would say, "He doesn't have
one yet." A Bayesian would say, ".500". Within their
respective philosophies, both are correct.

In the end, probability is no more than a ham-handed
attempt to manage uncertainty and ignorance of the

Stuart LaForge
alt email: stuart"AT"ucla.edu

"The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just." -Abraham Lincoln

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